Chim↑Pom are a provocative young art unit based in Tokyo that has been blazing a trail of performance-based activist art since 2006. Iconoclastic and irreverent, yet consciously channeling the ideas of 1960s insurgent art practices such as Hi Red Center and the Situationists and mixing them with the fearless energy of contemporary street art, Chim↑Pom have become one of the prime exemplars of the new assertiveness rousing Japan’s precariat generation since the triple disaster of 3.11. The archetype of this resilient outcast is the “Super Rat”, the irrepressible, indestructible rodent inhabiting the shadowlands hidden behind Tokyo’s glossy surfaces of neon and plastic.
“Chim↑Pom’s works combine an artist’s sense for the potent image, the actor’s sense of dramatic timing, the activist’s instinct for political resonance, and the flaneur’s fascination with urban space. In these works we find a revelation of unseen topographies and a choreography of latent possibilities – a contemporary Situationist practice for a society, or more specifically a city, stripped naked of its hallucinogenic surfaces by the specter of disaster, whether natural or manmade.”
– Julian Worrall
Super Rat is now the title of a new book published by Parco Publishing, offering the first comprehensive survey of Chim↑Pom’s work. The publication combines comprehensive documentation of artworks and performances with substantial interpretive essays by well-known Japanese critics and curators including Noi Sawaragi, Midori Matsui, Kiyoshi Kusumi, and Mizuki Takahashi. LLLABO’s Julian Worrall also contributed an essay to the publication, entitled “Chim↑Pom’s Spatial Tactics – An Art of Public Space”, analysing the role, use, and meaning of Tokyo’s public spaces in the artists’ practice.